Fitch Ratings has issued an ‘A’ rating for approximately $137 million in Canaveral Port Authority (CPA) port revenue bonds with the Port’s bond rating outlook affirmed as ‘stable.’
Fitch stated CPA’s cruise traffic continues to remain strong and drives the port’s stable operating profile.
In its annual review, Fitch noted its ‘A’ rating reflects Port Canaveral’s market position as one of the leading cruise-focused ports on the East Coast of the United States, its aggressive yet flexible capital program, and its conservative debt structure.
“A favorable review from a highly-regarded rating agency like Fitch is a strong endorsement of the port’s financial health and stability,” said CPA Director and CEO Capt. John Murray in a statement. “Our ‘A’ rating and ‘stable outlook’ affords us the ability to continue making sound investments in improving and developing our infrastructure to ensure we remain competitive in a global marketplace.”
In fiscal year 2019, CPA’s total operating revenue increased 4.8% to $106.6 million with cruise business accounting for approximately 77%. Cargo revenue growth and throughput at the Port has been “impressively high” in recent years, the agency noted, and is driven by Central Florida’s economic growth, providing diversification for a growing portion of the port’s revenue.
“Fitch’s high ratings assessment with a ‘stable outlook’ designation underscores the importance of having a sound fiscal management policy and practice,” said Michael B. Poole, CPA’s Chief Financial Officer. “It helps open more opportunities to the port for supporting responsible growth and strengthens our ability to meet current business demands.”
CPA’s current five-year capital plan (fiscal years 2020-2024) totals $345 million and includes the new Cruise Terminal 3 expansion, in partnership with Carnival Cruise Line, as well as improvements to Cruise Terminals 8 and 10, in conjunction with Disney Cruise Line. Fitch views positively the involvement from CPA’s cruise partners, noting past developments of Cruise Terminal 8 with Disney and Cruise Terminal 1 with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in its report.
Fitch Ratings is one of three nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSRO) designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The agency is dual-headquartered in New York and London.